CHAPTER 4 THE KHACHEN PRINCIPALITY IN X-XIII CENTURIES

Close ties bound Artsakh-Khachen with Armenian provinces, centres and with Cilician Armenian Kingdom. Several Armenian and Cilician manuscripts were obtained and kept in Khachen, which, during the Mongol domination were saved and preserved by the Armenian princes. A certain cultural renaissance took place in Armenian literary activity too, which has been called “the Albanian School” of Armenian literature, and which produced historians, philosophers, scientists and codifiers of law. Historical writing was one of the most significant aspects of classical and medieval Armenian literature of the district.

No violence or power could make the Armenians, sheltered in the highlands, give up their national script. It was the national spirit that inspired the Armenians of the Albanian region. The Armenian culture on the whole was influenced by the Artsakhian, as many famous scholars of Artsakh lived in the Armenian religious centres. For a long time the Khachen priests headed the Haghpat monastery. They erected churches and monuments, copied and illuminated manuscripts in Armenia proper.

The various foreign dominations and political shifts effected the Arran (Artsakh and Utik) land ethnically. Soldiers, craftmen, administrative rulers, tax-collectors and other representatives of multinational social strata settled in the country. They were Persians, Arabs, Jews, Turks, Mongols by origin. They inhabited the cities Partav, Gandzak, Bailakan. The peasantary was predominantly Armenian, and the bearer of typical Armenian traditions, customs and dialects.

The Arab chronologer Rashid-ad-din had registered an event which took place in 1276. The successor of Hulavu Khan (1256-1265), Abagha Khan (1265-1282) visited the subjected district Arran. Once he went hunting, surrounded by his bodyguards. A rebellion broke out while he was there. The Mongol ordered his soldiers to catch and kill all those who took part in the revolt. The leader of the rebellious peasants appeared himself and submitted to the Khan72. The auther didn’t mention the nationality of the rebells. But the historian L. Babayan came to a conclusion that “The Arran district was predominantly Armenian and we won’t make a mistake saying that the disobedient rebells were probably the Armenian peasants”73.

If the Arabs, then the Turks(Seljuks) ruled in Partav and Gandzak, the different branches of Arranshahikid family were the only authorized masters of the highlands. The conquerers were unable to leave distinguishable traces on the typically Armenian environment, culture and way of life. The Khasars left some stone idols, the Arabs a tomb in Nakhichevan, the Mongols and Seljuk-Turks-nothing. They were good at destroying cathedrals, fortresses, palaces, cities and burning manuscripts instead…

It was the script and literature that preserved the nation. Though centrifugal and discordant internally, they were never broken and there could be no power bending them to its will or depriving of the national creative spirit, which continued to inspire them during the comings and goings of the foreign powers. There are numerous examples of national endeavour on the part of the Armenians and there was not a moment during the long centuries when they lost their independence, or semi-independence or control over the destiny of at least a part of their native land.

At the end of the thirteenth century Jengiz Khan’s universal domain (from India to the Mediterranean sea, from the Russian north to the Persian gulf) was undermined and divided into different states. The emergence of Havalu Khan’s state was the result of the process. This state contained Transcaucasia, Armenia and Atropateni-Azarbaijan. Ethnical migrations took place in Iran, western Armenia and eastern Byzantium. The group of Persian nation called Medes, with the addition of Arab and later Turkish elements, gave birth to the Azari ethnic group.

Chamchian noted that some people called them Persians, others-Turks74.Their language was a mixture of Median, Iranian and Turkish terms. Today this ethnicity forms the bulk of population of Azarbaijan (in Iran).

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* In the princely houses of Arran, as well as Siunik, the use of Arab first names was at that time fairly commom. “Hassan” meant “handsome”.

** Now it is situated between Armenian towns Dilijan and Ijevan.

*** “Georgian sources about Armenia”, B. page 15.

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